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by nature, was incapable of appreciating the wise administration of Hubert de Burgh, who, while upholding royal authority, endeavoured to conciliate the barons by carrying out the spirit of the GREAT CHARTER. The king at last abandoned him to the hostility of his enemies, and expelled him from the kingdom.

Henry's next minister was Peter des Roches, bishop of Winchester, who, by bestowing all offices and dignities upon his countrymen the Poictevins, brought the barons again into collision with the king, who was compelled to dismiss all his foreign favourites. Again, the king's marriage with Eleanor of Provence, was the occasion of an influx of Provençals, upon whom, in spite of past remonstrances and warnings, he heaped riches and favours. In the meanwhile, Henry's mother, Isabella of Angoulême, had married the Count de la Marche, and incited him to a breach of feudal etiquette, by refusing homage to his suzerain, Alfonse of Poitiers, brother of St. Louis. She induced Henry also to enter into a league against France, but St. Louis defeated the confederates at Taillebourg and at Saintes (1242).

The great feud between the Guelphs and Ghibellines1 raging at this time in Italy, Pope Innocent, in hopes of obtaining English money and English aid against the Germans, offered the crown of Sicily to Henry's second son Edmond; and Henry having accepted the offer without consulting the general council or Witenagemote (which now first began to be called a Parliament), was involved in difficulties and immense expense.

Richard, Earl of Cornwall, Henry's brother, was meanwhile expending vast sums in a vain endeavour to have himself elected Emperor of Germany. The only advantage he reaped was the empty title of King of the Romans.

Henry, on his accession, had declared his right to modify the statutes of the kingdom, including Magna Charta, according to his pleasure; and by his encroachments on the privileges of the barons and of the burgesses of London, and by his oppressive taxations and Ghibellines, adherents of the Em

1 Guelphs, adherents of the Pope in Italian matters. peror of Germany.


arbitrary exactions, he soon became hateful to his subjects. The discontent of all ranks-barons, clergy, and people-soon brought on a crisis, and, through much public disturbance, led to that change in the Constitution from which we date the origin of the House of Commons. Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, son of the notorious persecutor of the religious sect in the south of France, called Albigenses, took the lead in this great movement. He had married Henry's sister, and, though a foreigner, had gained complete ascendency over the barons and the people. He was so largely supported, that he compelled the king to assemble a parliament at Oxford (1258), since styled the "mad parliament." Here it was agreed, by what were called the "Statutes or Provisions of Oxford," that twentyfour barons should be invested with full power to reform all abuses in the state that the freemen of each county or shire should elect four knights, and every city and borough two of its wisest citizens, whose business it should be to inquire into the wants and grievances of their respective neighbourhoods, and submit all breaches of law and justice to a Parliament to be assembled thrice a year. Thus the abuses practised by the king led to the transformation of the old council or Witenagemote, which had met only at irregular intervals,1 into a Representative Parliament, and upon this basis the liberties of England were securely established.

The king seized the first opportunity of violating the oath he had taken on this occasion, and troubles broke out afresh. Both parties agreed to refer their disputes to the arbitration of the French king St. Louis. Equitable as was his judgment, it satisfied neither party. They then had recourse to arms. The Welsh and Londoners taking part with the barons, a battle was fought at Lewes (1264), in which the king was made prisoner, and Leicester became sovereign master. A few days later, he restored the king to a nominal liberty, detaining Prince Edward as hostage. To the changes introduced by Leicester, we may trace many of the present safeguards of our freedom. But jealousy of this distinguished leader, sympathy for the king, and admiration of the rising genius of young Edward,

1 Nominally three times a year.

A.D. 1270.]



produced a reaction. The Prince, having escaped from prison, raised the royal standard; and a battle was fought at Evesham (1265), in which Leicester was killed and the rebels defeated.

After restoring peace to the kingdom, Prince Edward set out to join St. Louis (1270) in an expedition to the Holy Land. When he arrived at Tunis, he found the French king dead, but he nevertheless proceeded on his Crusade. Whilst in Palestine he was wounded by an assassin, and owed his recovery to his wife, Eleanor of Castile, who sucked the poison from the wound. During Prince Edward's absence, the old king died (1272) after a reign of 56


In this reign lived the great Roger Bacon, the precursor in physical science and experimental philosophy of his immortal namesake. A great impulse was given to architecture in every country in Europe during this century. Indeed, in every direction, the human mind displayed much activity, due in great measure to the contact with Eastern civilisation, resulting from the Crusades. It is worthy of note, also, that under Henry III. a charter was granted to Newcastle to dig for coal, and that this is the first mention made of a mineral to which England owes so much of her manufacturing prosperity and domestic comfort.

Cotemporary Events.-Zenghis Khan and the Tartars overrun the Saracen empire (1227). Russia conquered by the Tartars (1237). Mongols conquer China (1270). France: (Saint) Louis IX. Philip III. (Le Hardi) Scotland: Alexander II. Alexander III. (1249).

Questions.-1. What was the Regent Hubert de Burgh's policy; and how did Henry treat him? 2. What was Henry's character; and what were his views respecting the law of Magna Charta? 3. Who arose at this time to organize the resistance of the barons and burgesses? 4. Write out the provisions of the "Statutes of Oxford." 5. What led to the re-establishment of the royal power? 6. For what was the thirteenth century remarkable ?


9. Edward I. (surnamed Longshanks.)

A.D. 1272-1307.



Edward was in Palestine at the time of his father's death, but his admirable conduct during the civil wars of the preceding reign secured for him, though absent, the unanimous recognition of his title. On his return he promised to the barons a strict observance of the charter. He examined into the state of crime, and the administration of the laws, which, in his reign, began to be more relied on and respected than in those of his predecessors. Edward favoured the industrial classes, who, during his reign, gained greatly in importance and consideration from being summoned by the king to send deputies from the boroughs, to give their consent when he needed supplies, a necessity which frequently occurred, owing to the constant wars in which he was engaged.

Having attended to the primary duties of legislator and administrator, Edward's next aim was to give compactness to his empire. He began with Wales, whose people, the descendants of the ancient Britons, had always been impatient of the English supremacy. Edward summoned Llewellyn, prince of Wales, to do him homage. Llewellyn refused. Edward in consequence entered Wales, and in the war that followed, Llewellyn was killed in battle. His brother David, who succeeded him, being soon captured, was brought in chains to Shrewsbury, and tried by the English peers, who condemned him to be hanged, drawn, and quartered (1282). In like manner as the Romans massacred the Druid-bards for keeping alive the love of liberty and independence, so Edward is said to have ordered the destruction of the Welsh bards for a similar reason. Considerable doubt, however, hangs round this tradition. Edward's

A.D. 1296.]



son and heir was born at Caernarvon, and was the first English prince who bore the title of "Prince of Wales."

The state of confusion in which Scotland was at this time involved, favoured Edward's ambitious views on that country. The elder branch of his dynasty had died with Alexander III., and the members of the younger branch disputed the succession. John Balliol and Robert Bruce were the principal claimants of the throne. The Scottish nobles, unable to come to an amicable settlement of the question, chose Edward as arbiter, who began his task by requiring the Scots to acknowledge him as their liege lord, and to deliver their fortresses into his hands. Balliol, a weak-minded man, submitted to these conditions, and the disputed succession was accordingly decided in his favour. But even he was provoked into rebellion by the indignities offered by Edward, who seized every trifling occasion and frivolous pretext to summon Balliol to appear before him as his vassal. At length, having concluded an alliance with Philip IV., king of France, he formally renounced his allegiance to Edward, who immediately marched into Scotland at the head of a large army, and defeated the Scots at Dunbar (1296). Balliol was deposed, and brought prisoner to the tower of London. Edward burned the records of Scotland, seized the crown and sceptre, and, what the Scots highly prized, the famous coronation stone of Scone.

Under the pretext of satisfying certain feudal formalities, Edward had been required by Philip IV. of France to give up Guienne, on the express assurance that it should be restored to him. When it had been formally yielded, Philip refused to give it back. Edward then entered into hostilities with France, allying himself with the Flemings, who bore the brunt of the war. Edward's expedients to raise money excited much discontent amongst the barons and clergy, and the Parliament accompanied each supply with petitions for new privileges and for further immunities. This French war terminated in the restoration of Guienne and the marriage of Edward (whose faithful Eleanor was dead) with Philip's sister Margaret, and the marriage of Edward prince of Wales to Isabella, daughter of

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